A Different Take on Sustainability in AV

Discover how we can work toward a sustainable future in the AV industry, from equipment selection to recruitment and employee well-being.
A Different Take on Sustainability in AV

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In  2015, the United Nations announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each with specific indicators and targets. Without reading the entire list, many of us can correctly identify goals such as Climate Action, Affordability, Clean Energy, and No Poverty; however, this paper will not uncover these.

Quality Education

It’s no secret that Australia has a skill shortage, yet we seem to disregard the qualifications of experts living in our backyard.

Is the AV industry harsh on recognising overseas experience? International organisations such as AVIXA or Engineers Australia were created to benchmark skills and education levels. Let’s use them to our benefit!

The cost to educate engineers starts at $50,000 and that’s University fees only. It’s easier to explain local market nuances to qualified migrants rather than starting from scratch with an apprentice. In the end, science is the tricky part to teach, but the laws of math and physics are the same everywhere. We try so hard to bring youth into STEM courses, but we can also offer jobs to qualified people.

Next time you browse CVs, look more into overseas education, experience and applicants on temporary visas!

Reasonable Consumption and Production

The first step in assessing a product's lifecycle is to measure its impact on the environment. How much carbon is emitted during manufacturing? How much waste is generated through the process? Is it hazardous? Once we gather this data, we will be able to compare different products and set reduction goals for the next decade.

Although we may not set strict requirements for AV manufacturing yet, we are still responsible for promoting sustainable practices awareness. Organisations such as the Green Star Council of Australia has flagged that all material used in construction will need a Life cycle assessment study to achieve the highest ratings, with the view of expanding this criterion. The technology included in fit-outs will follow next.

Today, manufacturing organisations can meet responsible production targets by creating a 10-year sustainable framework. As these changes are driven by local legislation at manufacturing locations and the consumer market, many corporations have already met this target. So, ask your AV equipment manufacturers for their product life cycle assessment documentation and sustainability planning reports!

Speaking about responsible consumption, let’s end the Christmas gift exchange and the overflow of corporate freebies that end up in landfills. Many organisations already have policies not to accept gifts, so do you really need another water bottle or branded pen? Why not opt for a charity donation on behalf of clients? It's a win for all!

Good Health and Wellbeing

The conversation about mental health increases every day as we struggle with stress, depression and mental illness. Each month, on average 70 people take their lives in NSW alone, and the majority of them are males (70-75%). When was the last time you checked on your staff and asked, “Are you okay?”

In addition, MYOB's recent Business Monitor found that almost half of business owners suffer from anxiety. Everyone, take the time to educate yourself! The world is changing, and we know much more about mental health issue prevention than five years ago. So go on, get training and have a conversation with your staff!

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Lastly, let’s talk about tenders. High-profile proposals take weeks to respond to, and the selection process is questionable at best. Consultant, client, or whoever is preparing the request for quote (RFQ), please don’t let the responder guess how much work is required!  A straightforward RFP process and transparent evaluation are a must. Simple steps like page limit and returnable schedule with information you really need, can streamline the process. Let’s be mindful and respect each other's time, if no one reads the answer why bother with a question?

An even more concerning phenomenon is pricing a project below cost. Some do it to get the cost back up through variations, and some hope for additional work with the client. In the end, this practice is not sustainable, ruins the economy, and eliminates small businesses. We need to come together as an industry and work on a solution!

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